5 Ways For Increasing Ticket Sales During Holidays

5 Ways For Increasing Ticket Sales During Holidays

It’s the holiday season and that means the public is looking forward to discounts. Fairs and Fairgrounds should be taking advantage of that concept as well. There are two reasons to offer Black Friday deals – first of all you’re continuing to keep the Fair event at the top of your fans  list of things to do and second, and more importantly, you’re adding revenue to your bottom line during a relatively slow revenue period. Typically the last quarter of the year has much less events on the grounds than other months. 

Below are 5 ideas for ways to offer discounts for Black Friday and other Holidays: 

#1 – Season Pass Discounts – If your fair sells a ‘run of fair pass’ (or season pass) consider offering it at the lowest cost possible on Black Friday. Grandparents/parents can buy the tickets for their grandchildren as holiday presents, and families can get the best possible value to attend the Fair multiple days. Make sure that the pricing is at least 20-30% off the regular pricing.

#2 – Discount Admission Tickets – Offering admission tickets at 30% on-site admission pricing is very attractive to those who are ‘cost conscious’. Consider a one price level for all, or a buy one get one free option. Take a look at what other venues/events are doing in your area . That will indicate what the public is willing to buy. It’s important that this pricing is lower than your regular discount pricing. 

#3 – Discount Parking Tickets – Consider offering a parking upgrade for those who choose convenience and time over price. Have a section of your parking lot designated as VIP Parking, it’s closer to the admission gate, has covered parking (ie solar panels or even trees), or provides valet parking. You’ll need to follow your state/county/city ADA guidelines and offer ADA spaces in this area as well. 

#4 – Concert or Paid Attraction Tickets that includes Fair Admission – if your Fair has paid concerts, or other paid attractions  (rodeo, demolition derby, car or other racing), offering those tickets for a larger discount than is normally sold will be attractive to those bargain seekers. 

#5 – Sign Up for the Fair’s/Fairgrounds e-newsletter and get a ‘code’ for a % off a purchase of a ticket, concert, event, etc.. This one will help you increase your email list, while also generating interest in fair fans purchasing tickets. You should have this be at a different discount level than the Black Friday deals. It should be less of a discount because they are receiving a different benefit for their email address. 

Bonus #6 – Flash Sale – pick a day and pick an admission ticket and do a ‘flash sale’ – an unadvertised sale during the pre-sale period. Encourage people to sign up for your newsletter so they get the email the morning of the flash sale. 

In developing your ticket sales marketing plan, take advantage of other nationally recognized holidays before your event and implement one of these 6 sales opportunities for those holidays as well.. Having a calendar of these promotions should be part of your ticket sales marketing plan so you can track the response. 

In the event you think discounting tickets will hurt your bottom line revenue realize you’ll attract those bargain hunter fans that all fairs have, and you’ll  provide some ‘weather proof’ revenue for your organization. You won’t severely impact your onsite ticket sales – there are always a group of people who do not take advantage of discount ticket sales for a variety of reasons. 

And there you have it – 6 ways to use Black Friday as a method to promote and sell Fairtime admission, concert, fair attraction tickets or increase your email database. 

#1 – Season Pass Discounts

#2 – Discount Admission Tickets

#3 – Discount Parking or VIP Parking Experience

#4 – Concert or Paid Attraction Tickets that include Fair Admission

#5 – Sign up for the Fair’s e-newsletter and a % off a ticket purchase

Bonus #6 – Flash Sale ie unadvertised sale

In all of these options, make sure that any convenience fees collected do not ‘gobble’ up any savings your fans would get. Each online ticketing company has multiple ways to price their rates, having a good contract in place to insure your fans aren’t paying more than they save is important.

Remember to check out what other venues and events are offering in your area as well as what other Fairs and Festivals are offering. Keep a spreadsheet of the venue/event, regular pricing and discount pricing so you have some actual data to compare. Another group to watch is major retailers – what are they offering to residents in your community or close to their retail outlets. These retailers have a massive research team (and budget) providing their marketing teams with significant data. Take advantage of that. For example, I observed a large retailer offering ‘tortillas’ on opening day in a community many assumed was not hispanic. Getting that type of data provided us with the ability to market to a different demographic than had historically been under-represented in that zip code for our demographic marketing. 

Hopefully these ideas can spark other ways to get some pre-fair ticket sales as well as some marketing and PR about the fair out in the community months before the event.

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Connecting With our Competitive Exhibitors During Shelter At Home Scenarios

We are in very uncharted and challenging times. Many of our fairgoers and competitive entry exhibitors have been mandated by their local government and/or health department to stay home. Some County/State Fairs, Livestock Shows and Rodeos have been cancelled for the year. Others are in limbo while their year round events have been significantly reduced for the next few weeks. 

For those who are moving forward with their Fair Planning activities, our team has identified a way to keep our message about the fair in front of everyone via social media. For those who know me and/or know our Fair and our Fair Team, I can share that TB (if you know her you know who I mean) came up with this idea of the video series and I think it’s great! Have our exhibitors create videos of them preparing to enter their item into the fair. 

The concept is to do a video series of some of our exhibitors preparing their item to enter into the Fair. Here are some of the ideas:

1 – Select an exhibitor in canning, quilting, arts/craft etc and have them do a self video of them working on their item.

2 – Find someone who can highlight what fruits/veggies/flowers they should be planting now/near future to be entered into the Fair. 

3 – Do a video for ideas for parents to have their kid’s do a craft to enter for the fair.

4 – Do a video for adults to do a craft to enter into the fair

5 – Do a video about learning a new hobby that the result can be entered in the fair – this can be done at a local craft store showing what items they would need to purchase. Note: Most of these purchases can be done online.

Encourage them to take up a new hobby, learn a new skill! Even if that means it’s learned online!

While this is very turbulent times, everyone is looking and seeking for some normalcy. Your fairgrounds and your fair can provide that to our employees and patrons.    

Be safe everyone!

Pandemic Preparation for Your Organization or Business

The Covid 19 Coronavirus has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. With that declaration countries around the world are mobilizing to secure their borders, contain the virus, protect their people and prepare for the worst case scenario. 

Fairgrounds and other event facilities are being told to cancel all events for 3-8 weeks – depending on the State. Some Fair’s have already been cancelled by their cities – Houston Livestock Show, Miami Dade Youth Fair, Colorado River Fair are recent examples. 

The Centers for Disease Control has created this great checklist for preparing and dealing with a pandemic incident. It is called the Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist. Although it was written for influenza and large businesses, any size fair organization or fair partner can benefit from reviewing and implementing activities listed. Here is the link:


Communication is the most important action your organization can take. Communicate with your Board of Directors, local city/county leaders, employees, event promoters, and your public – what are you doing and what is going on with events. 

Fairgrounds have a huge advantage over convention centers, theaters, meeting halls, etc. Fair Staff have been dealing with consumer protection issues for years – primarily preparing and preventing ecoli incidents, educating the public about human/animal interactions. Take all that messaging and protocols – modify for the current pandemic. 

Also, reach out to your Industry organizations: Fair Associations, NICA, OABA, etc.. They are communicating with Federal, State and Local officials, politicians, and their own members. If you don’t have a PR department, your industry organizations can provide you with valuable information that you can modify for your local fair organization or business. 

Remember, you are part of a large industry regardless of the size of your organization, your fair attendance or your budget. Be safe, and be prepared. 

Creating Events For Increasing Fair Attendance

Creating Events For Increasing Fair Attendance

How do you increase attendance? Attract new patrons correct? And to attract new patrons, fair management needs to do some research and make some decisions. First, what demographic are you trying to reach?

How do you determine which group to focus on?  We have found this information in our survey. By doing a survey at your fair to learn about the current attendees and identifying patterns. If you aren’t collecting demographic information annually or at least every other year you have no data to make good decisions. Your survey must include age (or a range), gender, zip code and ethnicity at a minimum. 

We recently discovered a significant increase in our attendance by the asian population using our onsite fair survey. Further research indicated that our community demographic had changed as well. We quickly realized we needed to make some adjustments to our programming to begin the process of attracting the growing asian demographic in our community to the Fair, and, naturally, increasing attendance at our fair.

Based on our fair survey from a three year period we chose to focus on the top two growing sub-demographics: chinese americans and indian americans.

The next decision was made to create 2 new festivals during the Fair featuring chinese american and indian american entertainment, food, vendors, contests, etc.. We’ve already been doing this in the hispanic market with great success. Over the past 3 Fairs, we have been working with a team from the local Univision TV/Radio media group. The Fair purchases advertising on their TV and Radio outlets and pays for entertainment. Univision helps promote our hispanic event, Festival Latino, and arranges for the entertainment. In addition, the Fair provides marketing collateral in spanish for Univision to distribute at events they produce or events they attend. It’s been a successful process, so we decided to try the same process with these two new festivals.

We contacted our media buyers, who did research to determine which media partner would be the best partnership. Stay tuned for updates as we go through this process.